Don’t call it a ‘best of’ list: my favorite Nintendo games of 2011


I can see you now. I bet you’re walking up to some store buying all of your end of the year celebration goodies. Confetti? Check. Fireworks? Absolutely. Some of you may even be looking for an adult beverage or two. The one thing you may be looking for that you can’t find in any stores is a list of top games on Nintendo consoles this year, and that’s where I come in.

All around the Internet are lists of best of this, the worst of that, and even the worst dressed video game characters. Yes it’s true. What I intend to do is not make a list of the absolute best games of the year, there are other places to get that. Below you will find the 15 games that I enjoyed the most throughout the year that appeared on Nintendo consoles. Although you may know how I feel about what was possibly the biggest game of this year, there were plenty of great games outside of the realm of Hyrule.

Dive on in, and feel free to criticise my taste in gaming. Or don’t. Your choice. Here are my 15 favorite games of the year.

# 15 Kirby’s Return to Dreamland

Return to Dreamland didn’t do much new to change the tried and true Kirby formula, but that is a-ok by me. The best way to experience the game in my opinion is to grab a couple of friends and play the game co-op, the game is fantastic that way. If you don’t have anybody to play with, the game is still fun and is a worth addition to any gaming library.

#14 de Blob 2
I really like the de Blob games as I find the universe to be very whimsical and fun. The original game was great in its own right, and all the follow-up managed to to was build on what made the original fun. There is a lot to love about the de Blob games, from the bright and simple art direction to the good sense of humor developer Blue Tongue brought to the game. If your Wii needs a little post-Skyward Sword love go and give de Blob 2 a go.

#13 Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition
Perhaps out of any game in my 3DS arsenal, the game that I continue to come back to most is Street Fighter. I just really love having that great arcade-style experience in the palm of my hands. The game even has a great online mode that has seemingly zero lag, which can be detrimental to a fighting game. Is the 3DS the best place to play Super Street Fighter IV? Probably not, I actually prefer to have an arcade stick; but when laying in bed or on the bus it certainly is a fun time to be had.

#12 Lost in Shadow
Lost in Shadow came very early in 2011 for the Nintendo Wii, and as such it was lost in the shuffle and not many people gave it much more than a second glance. Even though the game had its faults, the intuitive way the player interacts with the environment by manipulating the way light and shadows interact is simply brilliant, and one of my favorite game experiences of the year. The combat leaves a lot to be desired, but if you can get past that, there is a lot of fun to be hand in the game.

#11 Bit.Trip Complete
Do you enjoy the ‘retro’ look in video games? Have a hankering for a fantastic rhythm title? How about six in one package? If your answer was yes to any of those questions then you need to drop everything and find yourself a copy of Bit.Trip Complete. What started off as a set of freakishly addictive WiiWare titles is finally a full retail package that totally deserves a purchase.

Eugene lives in New Mexico and has been a life long gamer since getting his hands on an NES. Always partial to Nintendo, Eugene has made it a point to keep informed on all things Mario.


  1. Great list, I’m glad Solatorobo made the cut. But I totally agree, the dialogue was outrageous at times.
    “Here’s your mission, don’t get hit by traps.”
    “Okay, hey, by the way, how are you?”
    “Oh good, and yourself?”
    “Terrific! Thanks for asking. But again, don’t get hit by traps.”
    “Okay, oh, nice shirt!”
    “Thanks man. Again, the trap thing.”
    “Oh thanks, I forgot.”

    Only game I disagree with is Super Mario 3D Land. I mentioned it in a previous post, but I just thought the game felt rushed, had to many levels consisting of the game’s melody, was too easy, and was just bare bones. 3D effect and its importance in the game was greatly exaggerated by Nintendo.

    I would replace 3D Land with Rayman Origins, though that’s multi-platform.

  2. Awesome list, Eugene–Great taste in games! I definitely have to check out Return to Dreamland and Solatorobo.

    My own list of favorite Nintendo games I played in 2011 goes like so:

    15. Professor Layton and the Last Spector (disliked the story, loved the puzzles)
    14. Nintendogs + cats
    13. Pilotwings Resort
    12. Pokemon Black/White
    11. Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded
    10. Street Fighter IV
    9. Face Raiders
    8. Pushmo
    7. Ocarina of Time 3D
    6. Starfox 64 3D
    5. Freakyforms
    4. Yoshi’s Island VC (still awesome!)
    3. Super Mario 3D Land
    2. Skyward Sword
    1. Mario Kart 7

    Haven’t played Minish Cap yet; it’s next up! 🙂

  3. You’re right, Rayman Origins was fantastic. The only reason it isn’t is on my list is that while I played it on Wii, I preferred it on the 360 just because I wanted to get the most bang for my buck visually.

  4. @Richard

    You turned me on to Freakyforms and I absolutely love it! It has really been a great year for the eShop.

  5. Wow! I’m so glad to see some Solatorobo love on here! Such an amazing game! Here’s my list, that I wrote up on my blog, like, two weeks ago? Anyway, we have similar gaming tastes a lot of the time, Eugene!

    ###Not all Nintendo!
    10. Portal 2 (PS3/XBox360/PC)
    9. Cladun x2 (PSP)
    8. Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)
    7. Fishing Resort (Wii)
    6. The Binding of Isaac (Windows / OS/X / Linux — potentially 3DS)
    5. Bastion (Xbox360/PC/Chrome)
    4. Corpse Party (PSP — Also on PC in Japan)
    3. Solatorobo: Red the Hunter
    2. Catherine (Xbox360/PS3)
    1. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PSP) #My new favorite game of all time.

    Back to your list, though, I wanted to talk about Street Fighter for a second. I’m not a big fan, and I think it has a lot to do with the aesthetic. It appeals to late ’80s-early ’90s Japan niches, and it just feels ancient to me. I’m more of a Guilty Gear and BlazBlue kind of guy, but that’s just me.

  6. Fantastic lists to Eugene and Richard

  7. I thought it was a pretty good list, but there’s one thing that’s been bothering me about everyone’s “favorites” lists. I bought the game Samurai Warriors: Chronicles when I got the 3DS, forgoing Street Fighter in the process. That game blew me away, it was such a fun experience. Street Fighter, in my opinion, can’t compare with the hack-‘n-slash gameplay that Samurai Warriors gave. For this reason, it made my list, and although it didn’t top it (Last Specter), it’s still a game that everyone should check out.

  8. Thanks for that! Now the pressure’s really on! 😉

    I pretty much agree. Glad to see Lost In Shadow receive its well-deserved recognition.

    Bold move putting Mario Kart 7 above Skyward Sword, but I almost think that’s the way to go! I’m loving Mario Kart 7! It’s the best Mario Kart yet, and that’s saying something!

  9. YES! Skyward Sword is the best game I have played this entire generation. I’m an avid PS3 gamer too. I just love it. I have completed it 3 times in a row now and will be starting a new game just as soon as I am finished playing through Twilight Princess again. Great list. All good games(the ones I have played anyway). Hope Minish Cap is released for purchase soon. Loved that title too.

  10. I haven’t played most of the games in the list :(. I think I’ll check out Lost in Shadows.